Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger is a well told and heart wrenching love story set against the Allagash River in the wilderness of Maine, the islands of Indonesia and Yellowstone National Park. Right from the beginning we know that the young couple will not have a happily ever after fairy tale ending and yet the story remains an uplifting tale of the power of true love.
The book begins when a woman's body is discovered in the river and her husband tells their story to a ranger. Jonathan Cobb was kayaking and attempting to trace Thoreau's path down the Allagash River when he met Mary Fury. They had so much in common and they fell in love immediately. Cobb is a loving, devoted person and Mary was a bit of a flake but they knew they were soul mates. Mary had Huntington's disease, a debilitating illness. She intended to end her life before she became a burden and she told Cobb he would have to help her when the time came. He agreed and they had a good life, lived to the fullest. For as long as they could, they embraced nature and their relationship. When the time came, Cobb fulfilled his promise and there was a heart-breaking send off.
The description is vivid and puts you right in the scene. The symbolism of nature and the river adds an extraordinary depth. The emotional journey of two people was so well portrayed it brought tears to my eyes several times. This is a very special story about love, nature and true commitment. I recommend it very highly.
Publisher: Pocket; Original edition (February 16, 2010)
Paperback: 368 Pages